Providence has not had much success since traveling to Xavier on a yearly basis since 2014.
With eight days to rest, prepare and recover from a tough loss, the Friars will be ready for another battle against the Musketeers on Sunday in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“I expect a heavyweight bout,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said earlier this week. “I just hope we can get a knockout in the 15th round.”
That may prove difficult since Xavier (9-2, 2-2 Big East) has won eight of the last nine at home.
Providence (7-4, 3-2) is coming off a disappointing 67-65 loss to Creighton on Christian Bishop’s dunk in the final second. The Friars’ Noah Horchler tied the game on a drive to the basket with 7.1 seconds left, but Marcus Zegarowski pushed the ball down court, got in the lane and found Bishop.
“Disappointed over the loss. We can’t let this game beat us,” Cooley said. “Losing is very, very tough. Hopefully we can keep our kids’ heads up and prepare for the next one.”
David Duke and Nate Watson were held to 13 points each on combined 9 of 30 shooting from the field. The duo combined to average just under 38 points per contest.
Xavier snapped a two-game losing streak with Wednesday’s 69-61 win over St. John’s. The Musketeers were scoreless on 12 attempts from the 3-point line for the first time since 2000 and committed 19 turnovers but managed to survive.
Xavier dominated the boards 57-40, recorded nine steals and put together a 16-1 run midway through the second half to take a 62-51 lead with four minutes left.
Colby Jones scored a season-high 16 points and Jason Carter grabbed a Xavier career-high 16 rebounds to go with 11 points.
“Our defense was better, our rebounding was better,” said coach Travis Steele. “We’re gonna start making shots, I do not worry about that with this team. I do worry about the rebounding and the defense and I thought we took a step in the right direction in both those areas.”
Zach Freemantle leads the team in scoring at 15.6 per game and Paul Scruggs follows at 14.4 points and a Big East-best 6.5 assists per game.
–Field Level Media